50K residents evacuated ahead of Auring’s landfall

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    AT least 50,000 persons have been evacuated ahead of the forecast landfall of tropical storm “Auring” this morning in the Dinagat Islands-Eastern Samar-Leyte area in the Visayas where a number of areas were placed under storm signal warnings yesterday.

    The Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said six areas in the Visayas and in Mindanao were placed under signal No. 2 and 30 other areas are under signal No. 1.

    Under signal No. 2 were the central and southern portions of Eastern Samar and of Samar, eastern portion of Leyte, Dinagat Islands, and Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands

    Auring, as of 7 p.m yesterday, was some 275 km east of Surigao City in Surigao del Norte.

    It was moving northwest at 25 kph, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

    Auring was expected to maintain its strength as a storm in the next 12 hours.Under signal No. 1 were Sorsogon, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Albay, Catanduanes, Northern Samar, Biliran, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Capiz, Guimaras, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon, and portions of Camarines Sur, Romblon, Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, and Aklan.

    The Office of Civil Defense-Caraga said 13,725 families or 51,445 persons have been from risk areas in Butuan City, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Islands as of yesterday morning.

    It said the residents were evacuated as a “precautionary measure.”

    The evacuees are staying in 332 evacuation centers where minimum health standards are observed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it received initial reports of flooding in the Surigao provinces. It could not immediately say the number of communities affected but said “response operations” are ongoing.

    OCD-Central Visayas director Marlou Salazar said the region also evacuated 1,847 residents.

    “We anticipated some areas to be flooded so we effected preemptive evacuation in Bohol and Cebu province. We have 1,847 people in evacuation centers in Cebu and Bohol,” said Salazar.

    The NDRRMC reported 265 families or 963 persons evacuated in the Davao region, particularly in Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental.

    Government has placed on standby some P1.21 billion worth of relief goods, food packs, medicines and funds that can be tapped and distributed to areas affected by Auring.

    The Department of Social Welfare and Development said “disaster funds and relief supplies are enough to respond to the needs of affected LGUs (local government units).” — With Jocelyn Montemayor